Manitoba chiropractor apologizes over treatment of infant

A Manitoba chiropractor has apologized for treating an infant without adequate consent or diagnosis.

Complaint is summarized in chiropractors’ association annual report

A Manitoba chiropractor has apologized for treating an infant without adequate consent or diagnosis. (iStock)

A Manitoba chiropractor has apologized for treating an infant without adequate consent or diagnosis.

The case is outlined in the 2015 annual report of the Manitoba Chiropractors Association which summarizes the activities of the regulatory body's complaints committee.

The chiropractor is not named, but the report says he took responsibility for his conduct in that he "recognizes his error, and has expressed an apology.  

"Without question his patient intake protocol was rushed and deficient," the report said.

It notes there was no evidence of any adverse outcome to the infant.

The complaint was resolved informally and the chiropractor was required to prepare a letter of apology to the complainant.

The profession is governed by the Chiropractic Act in Manitoba, with more than 275 members across the province, according to the association's website.  A spokesperson for the association was not available to talk about the report.

The complaints committee said the MCA received nine complaints in 2015 and referred five of them to investigation. There were also seven files carried over from previous years. None of the doctors are named.

Two of the complaints received in 2015 included allegations of a sexual nature against the chiropractor. In one case, the complainant alleged the chiropractor made inappropriate remarks and sat on the adjusting table next to the complainant while she lay on it.  

The patient complained that repeated inappropriate conduct by the chiropractor during office visits ultimately led her to discontinue care.

The complainant further alleged that about three months after she discontinued care, the chiropractor "began to text her in an attempt to begin an extramarital affair," the report said.

However, the doctor denied wrongdoing during the clinical encounters and the investigation found no conclusive evidence the texts were sent by the doctor. The report said no further action was taken.

A separate complaint alleging problems related to boundaries and sexual misconduct from last year is still under investigation.

Patient alleges treatment led to stroke

The complaints committee also reported it resolved a case from 2014 in which a patient alleged her treatment by a chiropractor resulted in her having a stroke.

"The crux of the complaint was targeted more at the delay of the member in initiating an emergency response once stroke like symptoms began to present themselves," the report said.

The committee said its review did not deal with whether or not the care caused the stroke, but rather with the timeliness of the call to 9-1-1.

"It is the current researched opinion of the chiropractic community that a chiropractic adjustment cannot cause an arterial dissection, irrespective of the anecdotal comments made by the complainant or any of the attending professionals handling the complainant's treatment," the report said.

It said chiropractors receive training on the issue of recognizing the signs of stroke.  

"It would appear that there was a period of anywhere from 20 to 37 minutes between the onset of the stroke-like symptoms and the time that the 911 call was made," the report said.

"It is also alleged that the member was not completely forthright in communicating to the first responders concerning the fact that a cervical adjustment was conducted."

The committee concluded the chiropractor should have initiated the 9-1-1 call sooner than 20 minutes.

Although the committee wrote there was sufficient evidence to warrant sending the matter to investigation, it did propose an informal resolution.

That resolution was accepted by the chiropractor and required a letter of apology to the complainant "related to the manner in which the medical emergency was handled."

In addition, the chiropractor was required to attend an emergency first aid course which includes how to deal with sudden medical emergencies.

The report said the chiropractor's notes had no reference to the patient advising she had been involved in a martial arts injury sometime in the weeks preceding the chiropractic visit, although that information was disclosed to other health professionals.

The committee noted, "That information may have been very influential in determining appropriate treatment by the member."

"It is not entirely clear as to whether the patient was not forthcoming with that information or whether the member failed to question in a manner to illicit that 'new' information. Without that information at hand, the member proceeded to treat the patient as if it were a 'chronic' condition," the report said.

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